Latest activities of group #12 vs Obama2012-07-09T15:16:58Z<p><img style="vertical-align: top; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/s3/cache%2F8b%2F44%2F8b4445a953fc753146635afd2bb3d236.jpg" alt="The Crisis in Energy Policy" width="384" height="580" /></p> <blockquote> <p>The Crisis in&nbsp;Energy Policy, by&nbsp;John M. Deutch,&nbsp;Harvard University&nbsp;Press, &euro;22.50, $24.95.</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">John Deutch has worked for 35 years on energy matters, as a government official, a university scholar and an advisor to industry. He has one embarrassing admission: the failure of US energy policy. The facts do not entirely support his views, in particular with regard to the US dependence on imported liquid fuels. Between 2005-12, the share of imported oil fell from 60 percent to 45, due to the surge of new domestic production and a decline in consumption. Deutch reminds us that President Carter&rsquo;s aim in establishing the Department of Energy (DOE) was to manage the energy program and formulate a national energy policy, but that: &ldquo;Few would deny that the DOE has not come close to achieving these objectives.&rdquo; Carter, pressured by the first oil crisis, proved himself both a visionary and efficient in his judgment and methodology. Using detailed proposals, he would work with Congress to enact comprehensive energy legislation. During the Reagan years, Congress revoked most of the provisions of this legislation. President Obama, Deutch observes, has taken a different approach. Rather than present Congress with a framework for climate change, &ldquo;he has asked Congress to craft legislation. Delegating an issue that has such complex technical, economic and political aspects, is equivalent to shouting &lsquo;jump ball&rsquo;,&rdquo; comments Deutch. Inevitably, it had to result in faulty, inadequate legislation &ndash; or none. This proved to be the case, as climate legislation has fallen short during Obama&rsquo;s first mandate. To learn more and understand the subject more deeply, read Deutch&rsquo;s short book. It will certainly be worth the energy you put in.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">&ndash;H.M.</p>When Is It Right to Fight?2012-07-09T14:58:45Z<blockquote> <p>American Force:&nbsp;Dangers, Delusions,&nbsp;and Dilemmas in&nbsp;National Security, by&nbsp;Richard K. Betts,&nbsp;Columbia University&nbsp;Press, $29.50.</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;"><img style="margin-top: 6px; margin-bottom: 6px; margin-left: 8px; margin-right: 8px; float: left;" src="/s3/photos%2F2012%2F07%2Ff3ba90d915d7490a.jpg" alt="American Force" width="182" height="275" />While American national security policy has grown more interventionist since the Cold War, Washington has also hoped to shape the world on the cheap. Misled by the stunning success against Iraq in 1991, both parties have pursued ambitious aims &ndash; but with limited force, committing the country&rsquo;s military frequently, yet often hesitantly, with inconsistent justification. These ventures have produced strategic confusion, unplanned entanglements, and indecisive results. This collection of essays by Richard K. Betts, a leading security scholar, investigates the use of American force since the end of the Cold War. Betts brings his extensive knowledge of 20th century American diplomatic and military history to bear on the full range of theory and practice in national security, surveying the Cold War roots of recent initiatives and arguing that US policy has always been more unilateral than liberal theorists claim. He exposes mistakes made by humanitarian interventions and peace operations; reviews the issues raised by terrorism and the use of modern nuclear, biological and cyber weapons; evaluates the case for preventive war, which almost always proves wrong; weighs the lessons learned from campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam; assesses the rise of China and the resurgence of Russia; exposes anomalies within recent defense budgets; and confronts the practical barriers to effective strategy. Betts ultimately argues for greater caution and restraint, while encouraging more decisive action when force is required. He recommends a more dispassionate assessment of national security interests, even in the face of global instability and unfamiliar threats.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">&ndash;H.M.</p>Islamic Terrorism in South Asia 2012-07-09T14:54:51Z<p><img style="vertical-align: top; margin-top: 6px; margin-bottom: 6px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/s3/cache%2F83%2F17%2F831768cc2c3501ea43b96f4e396fafdb.jpg" alt="Apocalyptic Realm: JIhadists in South Asia" width="387" height="580" /></p> <blockquote> <p>Apocalyptic Realm:&nbsp;Jihadists in South Asia, by&nbsp;Dilip Hiro,&nbsp;Yale University Press,&nbsp;&euro;21.50.</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;"><em>Apocalyptic Realm: Jihadists in South Asia</em> by Dilip Hiro is a book as incoherent as the title. &ldquo;The dual purpose&rdquo; of the book, spoken of at the beginning, is difficult to understand as it assumes standpoints that are not borne out by later discussions. The statements: &ldquo;interrelated jihadist movements in Afghanistan and Pakistan have infected India&rdquo; and that they &ldquo;pose a serious threat to the Pakistani State,&rdquo; are not substantiated in the book. The author attempts to explain many complicated issues simply, but fails. It begins with a short account of Sufism in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan but seems aimless. In general, the book does not succeed in appealing to an amateur of Southern Asia and the preoccupying central issues of the region; much less can it satisfy a more knowledgeable reader. The book deals with many serious issues in a superficial and simplistic manner &ndash; at best, it can be seen as a synopsis for further reading. Hiro draws similarities between America&rsquo;s role in the war in Vietnam and its subsequent role in Afghanistan. The four paragraphs devoted to this comparison assume a detailed knowledge on the part of the reader, so the parallels drawn are unsatisfying to a lay reader. Neither the Vietnam War nor the Afghanistan issue is dealt with in a responsible manner. The book fails to tell a cohesive story and leaves the reader wondering about just what message is intended. Unfortunately, the author seems to have many lofty ambitions but lacks the coherency to achieve them.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>-R.S.</p>Master Nunn2012-07-09T14:53:15Z<p><img style="vertical-align: top; margin-top: 6px; margin-bottom: 6px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/s3/cache%2Fe2%2F87%2Fe2871308dafe8670ca9714cf1343ca2c.jpg" alt="Call and Response" width="580" height="392" /></p> <blockquote> <p>Call and Response, by&nbsp;Cedric Nunn,&nbsp;Hatje Cantz, &euro;20.95.</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">In the 1980s, many documentary photographers in South Africa were mobilized and marshaled into taking sides against apartheid. This activist stand was clearly manifested in the work of Afrapix, a photographic collective founded by photographers such as Paul Weinberg. In 1981 at the age of 24, Cedric Nunn started taking photographs, and soon joined Afrapix. Like many, he would feel the need to witness the social and political consequences of apartheid. Afrapix came out of the Culture and Resistance festival and symposium. In this new book by Nunn, Rory Bester reminds us that by 1977, there were only 220 &lsquo;black journalists&rsquo; compared to 3,761 &lsquo;white journalists&rsquo;. The first group of images by Nunn covers the period from 1982-84, as he focused on the state of neglect, dilapidation, and general poverty in KwaZulu-Natal. Then, until 1990, as political unrest intensifies and the State of Emergency is imposed, his pictures are characterized more by funeral processions, mourners and the destruction of dwellings. The last period ends with the release of political prisoners and the first democratic elections in 1994. Nunn&rsquo;s most powerful images are about individuals and lives in places far from the noise of rallies and parades. KwaZulu-Natal has holds no secrets from him, in particular during apartheid, when he was capturing the minutiae of life in his native rural South Africa.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">His ability to let the individuals portrayed fill the space in the frame, brings a special texture to his pictures. They&rsquo;re full of complexity and humanity. After 30 years of work, he is among the masters of his league. That what&rsquo;s the book is all about.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">&ndash;J.C.N.</p>Maybe Not Buying But...2012-07-09T14:49:15Z<p><img style="vertical-align: top; margin-top: 6px; margin-bottom: 6px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/s3/cache%2Fb3%2F36%2Fb33612d1266f50f31386efdd4c167982.jpg" alt="Is China Buying the World?" width="379" height="580" /></p> <blockquote> <p>Is China Buying&nbsp;the World?, by&nbsp;Peter Nolan,&nbsp;Polity Press,&nbsp;&euro;19.90, $17.95.</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">China has become the world&rsquo;s second biggest economy and its largest exporter, and is now getting close to becoming the foremost importer as well. It possesses the world&rsquo;s largest foreign exchange reserves and has 29 companies in the FT 500 list of the world&rsquo;s largest companies. It is now competing to become the most prolific generator of new patents. China&rsquo;s &lsquo;rise&rsquo; is preoccupying the world.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In this short book, Peter Nolan &ndash; one of the leading international experts on China and the global economy &ndash; probes behind the media rhetoric and contests the idea that China is buying the world. Since the 1970s the global business revolution has resulted in an unprecedented degree of industrial concentration. Giant firms from high-income countries with leading technologies and brands have greatly increased their investments in developing countries, with China at the forefront. Multinational companies account for over two-thirds of China&rsquo;s high technology output and over 90 percent of its high technology exports. Global firms are pressing China hard to be permitted to increase their presence without restraints. Not an easy task.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">In contrast, Chinese firms have a negligible presence in the high-income countries &ndash; in other words, Nolan thinks that we are &ldquo;inside them&rdquo; but they are not yet &ldquo;inside us.&rdquo; China&rsquo;s seventyodd &lsquo;national champion&rsquo; firms are protected by the government through state ownership and other support measures. They are in industries such as banking, metals, mining, oil, power, construction, transport, and telecommunications, which tend to make use of high technology products rather than producing these items themselves. Their growth has been based on the rapidly expanding home market. China has been unsuccessful, so far, in its efforts to nurture a group of globally competitive firms with leading global technologies and brands. Whether it will be successful in the future is an open question. The same question applies to its rising currency.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Nolan&rsquo;s book is a balanced and very honest analysis. Looking at things from a distant perspective, he may be missing one point: the situation must be appreciated not only in terms of ownership or rankings as of today, but also in terms of dynamics and time-scale. In China, the short term is a 100 year period, whereas most of our politicians look at their watches every minute, anticipating the next election, and our business execs get stressed about the next quarterly report.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">So far, China is doing much better than Russia, its neighboring oil-rich country, which is having trouble transforming its black gold into social advantage and improvement. China is betting on almost every piece of technology, know-how and land, in order to move forward, and, in many ways, its ability to make tough decisions for the long term is already placing it ahead of many developed countries. China may not buy the present world, but its future&hellip;? That&rsquo;s for sure.&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>-J.C.N.</p>Industries Need Heroes Again2012-07-09T14:43:55Z<p><img style="vertical-align: top; margin-top: 6px; margin-bottom: 6px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/s3/cache%2F6b%2F38%2F6b38bab9bbf87910a38e87cb99b77f38.jpg" alt="The New Industrial Revolution" width="387" height="580" /></p> <blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">The New Industrial&nbsp;Revolution: Consumers,&nbsp;Globalization and the&nbsp;End of Mass Production, by&nbsp;Peter Marsh,&nbsp;Yale University Press,&nbsp;&euro;25.00.</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">Over the ten years or so it has taken Peter Marsh to write this book, as Financial Times correspondent for manufacturing he was able to conduct hundreds of interviews. In the 2012 national elections in both the US and France, the issue of how to revitalize domestic manufacturing has become more acute following the 2008-09 global financial crisis. Not many people were concerned about seeing developing countries turn themselves (or be turned) into global workshops, lowering costs for the &lsquo;smart&rsquo; Western business execs. But things can change. Now they have to change, say many. Marsh does not offer a solution. In his fascinating book, he provides dozens of concrete examples of what does &ndash; or doesn&rsquo;t &ndash; work. He takes us over the last 250 years of global manufacturing. From the Hayek restructuring and rescue of Swiss watch manufacturing back in the mid 1980s, to the Stryker success story with orthopedic implants made in Warsaw, or to the 1,500 thriving technology manufacturing businesses around Cambridge, UK, with staff numbers below 50. From customized goods aimed at specific individuals or industry users, to mass-market products. Marsh explains that his initial intention was to understand clearly how global manufacturing operates. Do enough companies ask themselves that question? The obsession with financial results has been partly responsible for the industrial losses suffered in the West. Marsh&rsquo;s book takes us back to basics, and looks at the challenges raised by re-industrialization. It&rsquo;s a great read for teenagers who don&rsquo;t know what to do with their lives, but it is also a must-read for adults. Showing more interest towards genius in manufacturing could be part of the solution.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">&ndash;H.M.</p>India: The Fiery Coalfields of Jharia2012-07-09T11:15:19Z<p><img style="vertical-align: top; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/s3/cache%2F23%2F97%2F23976bb839ab7f2d6c33f19717b0d3d9.jpg" alt="CoalFields" width="580" height="382" /></p> <blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">The mineral-rich and once-beautiful area of Jharia is on fire. Literally. Incredible economic growth has increased the demand for energy. But the lethal tactics applied to extract this energy from Jharia&rsquo;s coalmines are risking the lives of the region&rsquo;s inhabitants.</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">In Jharia, in the federal state of Jharkhand, around 600,000 people live in the middle of one of India&rsquo;s biggest coal mining areas. For most of them, there is no benefit to be gained. Quite the opposite: the soil, the water and the air are now contaminated, of all things, in an area that was previously rich in woodlands. With India&rsquo;s strong economic growth, the need for energy, and thus the hunger for the dirty and supposedly cheap raw material coal, will only grow larger and larger. The coalfield of Jharia is, on the one hand, India&rsquo;s biggest coal mining area and, on the other, the area with the most coal seam fires. Coal seam fires are not only one of the biggest causes of environmental pollution locally, but also globally. These blazes spout enormous quantities of carbon dioxide into the air, in India alone 1.4 billion tons a year. As a result, India has become the fourth biggest producer of greenhouse gas worldwide.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">The story of Jharia is the story of how the greed for profit, vested interests and the thirst for power have prevailed, leaving one of the most mineral-rich areas in India economically backward. The mining marginalizes the poor and deepens social inequality in the name of economic development, profiting mostly large metropolises like Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><img style="float: right; margin-top: 5px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;" src="/s3/cache%2F08%2F3f%2F083fa22774002628a88d69637185ac04.jpg" alt="CoalFields" width="300" height="192" />Opened in 1896, the Jharia mines in Dhanbad district, around 270 km from Ranchi, have huge deposits of coal. Shortly after 1971, the coal mines were nationalized. Since then, their operator has been Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) which now controls one of the biggest coal deposits in India and the whole of Asia.1 Before 1973, coal mining was done underground, but after 1973, BCCL decided to shift to opencast. Right now BCCL mainly conducts opencast mining and&ndash; usually illegally, since in 97 percent of cases, no license has been granted. Opencast mining is more profitable than deep mining because productivity is significantly higher. In Jharia, coal is mined in the villages, next to the houses. In short, on people&rsquo;s doorsteps. Even on the streets, on railway lines, in the station itself, which is no longer a station, coal is mined. The chairman of the railway board voiced a major complain against the illegal mining under the railway tracks. Ashok Agarwal from &lsquo;Jharia Coalfield Bachao Samiti&rsquo; (Save Jharia Coalfield Committee), an organization formed by the inhabitants of Jharia to fight against the eviction orders of BCCL, says: &ldquo;But the railways belong to the government of India, practically everything belongs to the government of India, so the matter has been hushed up.&rdquo;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Theoretically, the mined area should be filled with sand and water afterwards, so it can be cultivated again. For cost reasons, however, this never happens, which leads to the coal seams coming into contact with oxygen and catching fire. India has the most coal blazes worldwide. BCCL representatives estimate that there are 67 fires in Jharia alone. Ashok Agarwal: &ldquo;The fires which take place in the mines and all over the Jharia region are deliberately not being dowsed by BCCL. The mines are full of water, and if this water was properly channeled onto these fires they would be immediately quenched. Whenever the fires are against the interest of BCCL they are quickly dowsed. But most of the fires are in the interest of BCCL. The reason behind this: BCCL opted for opencast mining so they need more and more land for the expansion of these opencast mines. And land is not easily available. So they allow these fires to expand. As the fires progress, more and more land is declared hazardous, and the people are forced to evacuate. So BCCL gets land for the expansion of the mines and for the extraction of coal. This perhaps is the biggest tragedy Jharia is facing: the fires in Jharia are not being dowsed deliberately.&rdquo;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">&ldquo;Our house is always very hot and smoke continuously billowsfrom out under the floor,&rdquo; says one female inhabitantof Bokalpari, a small town on the edge of fire. In addition, thesmoke and vapors contain poisons, including carbon monoxide,sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, but also soot, methaneand arsenic. The damage to health is enormous. Lung andskin diseases, cancer and stomach disorders are only someof the illnesses that the people in Jharia have to fight. AshokAgarwal: &ldquo;Because of this massive pollution here practicallyeverybody who is staying within the vicinity of Jhariatown, in fact most of the inhabitants of Jharia town as well,all of them have lung problems. For example bronchitis, canceror asthma. Or even more serious diseases. All because ofthe huge amount of coal dust inside their lungs. The averagelife expectancy of the inhabitants of this region nowadays isvery, very low.&rdquo; What to do if somebody gets ill? The governmenthas its own hospitals but these hospitals are only for theemployees of BCCL.2 Ashok Agarwal says: &ldquo;But the huge pollutiondoes not affect only BCCL employees. It affects everybodyliving here. And the poor people have to pay the bill forthe medical care from their own pocket when they get ill. Butmost of them don&rsquo;t have the money to pay for medical services.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">So they don&rsquo;t go to the hospital at all.&rdquo;Instead of doing something against the fires, one of the biggestresettlement plans worldwide is to be carried out: JhariaAction Plan (JAP). The inhabitants of the areas on fire are&nbsp;supposed to be resettled in Belgaria, a new town in the middleof the jungle. There is no school there, no medical care, noshops, and, worst of all, no jobs. Mostly, there are one-bedroomhouses where families, often numbering up to ten, are expectedto live. Ashok Agarwal says: &ldquo;These people have been practicallyforced to go there. They have never been consulted aboutwhether this place suits them or not. They have not been askedwhich type of rehousing they want. BCCL decided on its ownto give them just one room of nine feet by eleven feet with onebathroom and a kitchen. And this in a far away place. In Belgaria,which is 8 km away from Jharia town.&rdquo; Most of the peoplewho have already been resettled in Belgaria have been promisedRs 10,000 in compensation and 250 days of work. But mostof them have not received anything. In addition, the governmentwas supposed to provide for all of the infrastructural facilitiessuch as post offices, hospitals, schools, shopping malls, aswell as essentials such as electricity and water. But the governmenthas not delivered on its promises. Ashok Agarwal: &ldquo;Allthese people have been shifted to Belgaria, but all the promisedinfrastructural facilities are not there. Most of the people didn&rsquo;teven get the money they have been promised. One man has justdied because he couldn&rsquo;t get any medical help and because hedidn&rsquo;t even have the money to buy something to eat.&rdquo;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">So many decide to stay in Jharia. In the fire. In spite of theblazes. In spite of the perpetual grey veil that lies over the town.In spite of the air pollution, which makes breathing almostimpossible on a bad day. And in spite of the coal dust, whichsettles like a second skin on the body.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span>To order a copy of&nbsp;</span><em>The Global Journal</em><span>&nbsp;</span><a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank">click here</a><span>.</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #888888;">Text and Photography by Isabell Zipfel</span></p>Reality is Over the Top2012-07-09T11:04:57Z<p><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; margin-top: 6px; margin-bottom: 6px; vertical-align: top;" src="/s3/cache%2F0a%2Fa8%2F0aa8260c7fb7a5da2c226aba4be000d9.jpg" alt="Reality is Over the Top" width="463" height="580" /></p> <blockquote> <p>Up and Down Peachtree: Photographs of Atlanta, by Martin Parr, Contrasto, &euro;30.&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">When, in the past year, the iconic British photographer Martin Parr created his first commission for a major American art museum, he visited the Georgia National Fair, a Roller Derby, CNN, the World of Coke, and the &lsquo;always-more&rsquo; world. Parr cannot betray his own eyes, but to some extent he can hardly believe them. This is perhaps one of the main reasons why he has become such an iconic photographer &ndash; he documents his vision and his astonishment. The world delivers moments of colorful emotion and intense revelation to this honest Brit. When he shoots pictures, he appears to be almost in a state of panic himself. &ldquo;I feel some kind of documentary responsibility, trying to show what&rsquo;s happening here through my eyes.&rdquo;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Parr is not trying to make fun of his subjects. Traveling through Peachtree State (the nickname for Georgia), Parr moves among the ordinary, indigenous population and his picturesque testimony is vivid. With <em>Up and Down Peachtree: Photographs of Atlanta,</em> Americans may learn something about themselves &ndash; and might not be pleased. Parr has no intention to be critical, he is simply present, and, in a state of mild shock: just looking at people. None of them have been coerced to look as they do, with or without lipstick, dressed or undressed. Every country, every museum should commission Martin Parr to capture moments in our daily lives; we would probably all be surprised to see what passes through the lens. Let&rsquo;s hope we would have enough of a sense of humor to look at our images honestly, before asking ourselves what&rsquo;s so odd about us.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">-J.C.N.</p>Occupy History2012-07-09T10:57:11Z<p><img style="vertical-align: top; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/s3/cache%2F12%2Fe4%2F12e431d9953ca3bc4ce28646c2e25364.jpg" alt="Occupy History" width="580" height="387" /></p> <blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">Identifying lessons from the Great Depression is certainly wise. Yet, it was not on the macroeconomic front that Roosevelt won the election in 1936. Marc Flandreau looks at the &lsquo;microeconomics&rsquo; from the same period, with reference to contemporary policymaking.</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">In the middle of October 2011, making my way out of the Wall Street subway station in downtown Manhattan, I was met by a joyful crowd that did not quite match the local dress code. They were going from one passer-by to the other, asking directions for &ldquo;the historical site of JP Morgan bank.&rdquo; The young bankers in bespoke suits did not have a minute or a clue. As a financial historian, I certainly owed them directions to 23 Wall Street. As we traded jokes I learned they were part of &ldquo;Occupy Wall Street&rdquo; on their way to a rally that social websites had coordinated there.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">This was an interesting coincidence. During a seminar delivered earlier that day, I had emphasized some aspects of the interwar crisis that involved finance, politics and symbols. I had spoken a lot of the House of Morgan, and how the New Deal financial Acts of the 1930s could be interpreted as a power fight between the Roosevelt Administration and Wall Street. This encounter with the &ldquo;Occupy&rdquo; people roaming the financial district in search of Morgans brought me an additional perspective; perspective that had been missing in my talk and that is missing in the conventional parallels currently being drawn between the Great Depression and the sub-prime crisis. It is this perspective I want to bring into the discussion.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Since the beginning of the Great Contraction of 2007, Great Depression era &lsquo;lessons&rsquo; have inspired much economic policy action. It is fair to say that the first efforts at crisis fighting were devoted to addressing what was identified as a replica of 1929. Austere charts showing the parallel spiraling down of stock prices, trade and the economy after 1929 and after 2007 gained Tweeter currency. Thus policy makers have taken for granted that history matters. In fact, the extent to which economic discussion and debate have turned to historical precedent and analogy is astonishing. Macroeconomic ideas of the pumppriming variety &ndash; which had been tailored precisely in the aftermath of the Great Depression &ndash; were taken out from the closet where they were stored and adjusted to the fashion of the day. Government checkbooks were set wide open: not as wide open as some, such as Paul Krugman, would have wanted, but certainly wider than interwar policy makers dared, and wider than some modern constituencies support. This first round of history- inspired policy responses bought policy makers precious time, and ensured divergence between interwar and current economic curves: Economics 101 had saved the world.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">To read the full report,&nbsp;<a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank">subscribe or order a copy of The Global Journal.</a></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #888888;">by Marc Flandreau</span></p> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span style="color: #888888;">(Photo &copy; DR)</span></p>The Next Generation of Nuclear Energy2012-07-06T19:59:57Z<p><img style="vertical-align: top; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="/s3/cache%2F0d%2F17%2F0d17614ce5b641ef888b4c11fa100ff6.jpg" alt="Third Generation Nuclear Energy" width="580" height="387" /></p> <blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">Since 2001, a project has been underway to determine &lsquo;alternative&rsquo; nuclear technologies, conducted by a large group of scientists from over 15 nations. The list of specifications is very demanding, but with a simple objective: can science provide radical new solutions to allow us to dispense with ageing second and third generation nuclear technologies? The group came up with a set of discoveries promising remarkable advances. So, why does no one talk about them? Nuclear energy, it seems, remains a sensitive subject at the global level. Our reporter, Leah McGrath Goodman, has decided to throw some light on the matter.</p> </blockquote> <p style="text-align: justify;">It is a little-known fact that the heavily guarded, Cold War era fortress that houses the US Department of Energy (DOE) in Washington is named after &ndash; as one official jokes without a trace of irony - &ldquo;a deeply depressed man.&rdquo;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">That man, James Forrestal, first US Secretary of Defense, died in 1949 under strange circumstances. Depending on whom you believe, he was either assassinated or committed suicide by tying the end of a bathrobe sash around his neck, the other to a radiator, and throwing himself out of a hospital window. His body was found, shirtless, on a ledge, in an alley. The investigation into his death was marred by rumors of foul play, but it appeared he left a suicide note.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Quoting a passage from Ajax, the Sophocles&rsquo; tragedy about a warrior who takes his own life after deciding he has lost his nobility and dreads the prospect of living in a world in constant flux, Forrestal wrote: &ldquo;Worn by the waste of time &hellip; Comfortless, nameless, hopeless save &hellip; In the dark prospect of the yawning grave.&rdquo;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Not cheerful stuff, but perhaps a fitting warning for the agency that makes its home at the former compound of the Atomic Energy Commission and continues to devote the majority of its resources to maintaining US nuclear stockpiles and cleaning up the toxic mess left behind by years of manufacturing nuclear weapons. Indeed, the DOE itself could be called a warrior grappling with a world in flux, its throwback existence a metaphor for the bind the world now finds itself in when faced with the future of nuclear. While Washington desperately wants to move forward, it is hamstrung by the failures of the past and the administrative wastes of the present.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Dr. Strangelove (who would feel right at home at the DOE&rsquo;s concrete-bunker headquarters) would not approve. Still, in the wake of the Fukushima meltdown just over a year ago, it is clear that the rumors of the death of nuclear, like those surrounding the demise of General Forrestal, have been greatly exaggerated. Much stands in the way of the nuclear renaissance the world likely needs to avoid a fatal uptick in greenhouse gases, but emerging nuclear technologies with advanced safety features offer a zero-carbon alternative at a time when mankind may need it most.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Interestingly, it is not the specter of Fukushima that has slowed some of the progress on the nuclear front, but a boom in natural gas, which has flooded the marketplace on the back of advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (more popularly known as &lsquo;fracking&rsquo;). Traditionally, nuclear has beat gas by a long shot as the cheaper and greener energy option, but in recent years that has been less and less the case. Both are relied upon across the continents for their steady generation of electricity, but the ocean of natural gas stemming from perfected drilling techniques has led to rock-bottom prices in some parts of the world. &ldquo;We are living at a historic moment in the evolution of energy markets,&rdquo; Rex W. Tillerson, Chief Executive of ExxonMobil, pronounced in June at a conference in Kuala Lumpur. &ldquo;How we respond will shape the quality of life for generations to come.&rdquo;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">Tillerson was not mincing words. Gas is poised to outstrip coal as the second most widely used source of energy worldwide by 2025. That takes into account soaring demand in Asia, which is projected to grow by more than 50 percent in the next three decades. Coupled with the chilling effect of Fukushima, that does not bode well for the future of nuclear, even with its carbon-neutral appeal. While natural gas burns cleaner than coal, it is still a fossil fuel that produces its share of dirty greenhouse gases. And that does not bode well for the future of the planet.</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s really a pick-your-poison sort of issue: nuclear comes with radiation and fear, while greenhouse gases and climate change come with uncertainty and the potential for serious impacts far in the future,&rdquo; says Roger Pielke Jr., Professor of Environmental Studies at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado at Boulder and author of <em>The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won&rsquo;t Tell You About Global Warming</em>. &ldquo;As things stand, there&rsquo;s no way we can produce enough solar and wind and hydro to replace the existing base load and power needs we&rsquo;re dealing with, let alone the growth in energy demand we&rsquo;re going to see. And everyone is beginning to realize that.&rdquo;</p> <p style="text-align: justify;">&lsquo;Base load&rsquo; is the term used by experts to refer to the minimum sustained level of electricity needed to deliver power to the world&rsquo;s energy consumers 24 hours a day,&nbsp;7 days a week. If the world&rsquo;s electricity portfolio was a layer cake, nuclear, coal and natural gas would make up the bulk of the cake, with renewable fuels serving as the frosting. Renewables remain promising and critically important &ndash; comprising one fifth of global electricity generation &ndash; but they still aren&rsquo;t reliable enough or robust enough to stand in for the much brawnier fossil fuels or nuclear in the face of current energy demand and global projections for growth. By 2035, says the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), world demand for energy will increase by one-third, with energy-related carbon emissions skyrocketing by 20 percent. A lower rate of global economic growth in the short term would only make a marginal difference to longer-term energy and climate trends.</p> <p>To read the full report, <a rel="nofollow" href="" target="_blank">subscribe or order a copy of The Global Journal.</a></p> <p><span><span> </span><span style="color: #888888;">By Leah McGrath Goodman</span></span></p> <p><span style="color: #000000;"><br /></span></p>